Monthly Round-Up Post April

monthinreview

I read and reviewed 14 books this month. That’s a new record for me!

  1. In The Storm by Karen Metcalf – 4/5 stars
  2. Catching an Evil Tail by Mary Abshire – 4/5 stars
  3. This Bird Flew Away by Lynda M. Martin – 5/5 stars
  4. Rabbits in the Garden by Jessica McHugh – 5/5 stars
  5. Glimmer by Vivi Anna – 2/5 stars
  6. Bella Maura by Dawn Dyson – 4.5/5 stars
  7. The Banishing by Fiona Dodwell – 4/5 stars
  8. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa – 5/5 stars
  9. Winter’s Passage by Julie Kagawa – 3/5 stars
  10. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa – 4/5 stars
  11. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa – 5/5 stars
  12. My Frankenstein by Michael Lee –  4/5 stars
  13. Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis – 4/5 stars
  14. Spirit by Graham Masterton – 4.5/5 stars

I also hosted 4 author interviews during the month of April.

  1. Author Interview with Karen Metcalf
  2. Author Interview with Mary Abshire
  3. Author Interview with Fiona Dodwell
  4. Author Interview with Michael Lee

Two guest bloggers were featured on my blog.

  1. Guest Post from Raven Corrin Carluk
  2. Guest Post from Lynda M. Martin

I hosted three contests this month. The Iron Fey contest is already closed – and winners will be announced tomorrow, along with winners from the other contests – but for the other contests, you can sign up till tonight, midnight.

  1. Giveaway: Iron Fey Week
  2. Giveaway: All Hallow’s Blood and Saint Valentine’s Clash
  3. Giveaway: In The Storm

Book Review: Spirit by Graham Masterton

16916Title: Spirit
Author: Graham Masterton
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Adult, Ghosts, Supernatural
Rating: 4,5 stars
Review copy provided by Dorchester Publishing.

Laura and Elizabeth Buchanan’s lives were changed forever when their little sister Peggy was found dead in the icy water of the family’s pool. But Peggy never left her sisters. As Laura and Elizabeth grow up, a string of inexplicable deaths threatens to shatter their lives. Each corpse shows signs of frostbite–and each victim’s dying moments are tortured by a merciless little girl in a white dress.

When I first read the blurb for Spirit, I knew that I needed to get my hands on this book, no matter what it cost. Even though I had to request it three times (due to my Netgalley profile not being completely filled in), I didn’t care in the slightest. I had this crazy, unexplainable, but very convincing feeling that this book was going to leave me scared, terrified and very, very impressed. I don’t know why I got this feeling, that turned out to be true, but I have my suspicions that it might be a supernatural thing of the kind we come across in Spirit, a part of me that instinctively knew, even by reading the smallest back cover blurb ever, that this novel was it. That this was the kind of scary story I had been waiting for since forever-and-a-day, that this was the story that would leave me paralyzed, hidden under my blankets at night, and unable to sleep. I was more than right.

Spirit reminded me of the first time I watched The Others, with Nicole Kidman as leading actress, and hid under my blanket because I was so damn terrified. It brought back memories of summoning spirits at band camp late at night, of shivers running down your spine when your friends tell you ghost stories around a camp fire, or hearing a weird sound and dismissing it as nothing, while you very well know it’s something. It reminded me of that time my friends and I broke into the local haunted mansion, and I saw what I firmly believe was a ghost. This novel is so haunting, so absolutely terrifying, that it reminded me of every single time I was scared by the supernatural, by the world beyond our own, by the possible existence of ghosts, and topped all of that. I don’t remember ever being so scared while reading a book before in my life. Now it leaves me still very much unsettled, but very much impressed at well. Wow, is all I can say, wow, and please hand me another one of those.

I cannot begin to describe how good it felt to actually be this scared again, right when I was starting to lose my faith in the horror genre alltogether. I mean, I’m one of those people who can’t be scared by watching Zombie flicks, or by reading about blood-sucking vampires (definately not after the whole Sparkly-vampires thing) or by insane serial killers following a group of stupid and ignorant teenagers. The only way to actually make me shiver in fear, is by involving ghosts. Why? Ghosts just have this whole sense of weirdness going on, one cannot be certain if they truly exist or not, and even if they do, it’s damn hard to get rid of them, since they are…you know, dead.

Spirit begins with the drowning of five-year-old Peggy, the little sister of Elizabeth and Laura Buchanan. While their parents suffer greatly from the loss of their beloved youngest daughter, the two sisters struggle with feelings of guilt. In an effort to put this past them, Elizabeth buries her copy of The Snow Queen, Peggy’s favorite fairytale, in the snow of their backyard, as a peace offering to God to let Peggy’s soul rest in heaven. Rest assured, that’s the last thing that happens.

Some years pass by and the Buchanan family is getting things together again, with their mother returning from the asylum (she suffered a mental breakdown after Peggy’s funeral) and their father getting back to work as a publisher. However, strange things are starting to happen. Elizabeth runs into a girl she swears is Peggy, although the girl looks nothing like her drowned sister. When people are starting to die in peculiar circumstances as well – from frostbite, for instance – Elizabeth suspects that somehow Peggy returned back from the dead. She finds encouragement for her thoughts when her parents start seeing Peggy as well, and when a local author and friend of hers tells her that he’s been seeing his dead brother, Billy, frequently during hte last couple of years. Although the boy he sees looks nothing like Billy, and isn’t even of the same age.

Elizabeth and Laura must stop their younger sister from walking this earth anymore, and must do whatever it takes to put her soul to rest. Before it’s too late…

The entire atmosphere, dialogue and descriptions of Spirit is eerie and haunted. From the first few sentences until the very last, Graham Masterton proves that he is a true master of the horror genre, as he pulls his readers in from his very first chapter, and doesn’t let them go. He describes his characters in a lot of detail, and I felt like I got to know them as real people, with real hopes and expectations, and real, substantial fears. Elizabeth was a gripping character with a moving and touching personality, who gained a lot of my sympathy as she struggled with the ghost of her undead sister. Sorrow, regret, guilt and raw, honest fear are all woven together in what I believe is one of the scariest novels currently existing. As the years pass by and the secrets unfold, I felt myself getting pulled more and more into the novel. When the ghost of Peggy appeared, first not much more than a vision, and later on a person you could actually touch, a murderous and over-protective, evil spirit, I looked behind my back occasionally, as shivers were running down my spine and I felt the temperature in the room had dropped several degrees. Although mostly only in my head, it was great to be experience so many emotions when reading a novel.

There were parts in the book that felt sloppy and not up-to-par as well. For instance, when they try to unravel the mystery of who exactly the spirit is, and why they feel like it’s Peggy although she looks nothing at all like their deceased sister. “Human imagination”, “Fairy Tales Come To Life”, that dropped the scare-level to halfway, in my opinion. Maybe it’s the science and logic behind it, although I did think this was interesting and an original perspective, or maybe it was that this wasn’t just some dead person’s ghost lingering about, but actually only a little girl’s imagination gone wild. Quite dissapointing in the scary-department but unmistakingly original nevertheless. I also felt like somehow these parts dragged a bit, and that some of the kills were rather random. I didn’t like the scene with Laura and the two TV producers, and I wasn’t sure if it was an essential part of the story – to show what exactly the spirit is capable of (but if it was, why did she not appear sooner then, and why wait till after Laura gets hurt?) – or if it was just to fill some pages. I am inclined to believe the latter, and wasn’t all that touched by it. The epic battle at the end left me dissapointed as well (I had a continuous feeling of: oh really?, and add a sarcastic tone to that), but all in all, I could live with that, considering how unnaturally frightened I had been with the first part of the novel.

What would have made Spirit stood out for me so much that I would rate it a 5 rather than a 4.5? Had the ghostly incidents started off more slowly, rather than immediately with the apparition of an actual ghost-like figure. I like the tiny little horror parts in novels, like when the protagonist leaves their keys on the counter, and then finds them on the table when he returns. Or when they hear strange noises at night, that can not be explained. Or when they see shapes out of the corner of their eyes, but dismiss it as being nothing. Lights suddenly shutting off, things going missing, those sort of things. And then, bring in the ghost. And then, a hundred-or-so-pages further down the line, make the ghost go totally murderous. I also would have liked to see more of Margaret, Elizabeth’s mother, and how she might have been effected by the supernatural events. She was an intriguing character, with her severe doubts about her life, her depression over giving up her acting career and her frequent visits to the asylum. There was a small part of the novel in which Margaret saw Peggy first, but no one believed her, and then Elizabeth saw her as well. I would have liked it if this had lasted longer, and they had announced Margaret crazy for seeing things that were actually real, and then have Elizabeth question her own sanity as she starts seeing the ghost as well. Alas, we cannot have it all.

I also liked the fact that this novel read like a mystery novel. There’s the case of the murderous ghost, and then our cast of characters has to find out who she is, where she comes from, and how to stop her, in a race against time – or against the next murder. I also loved the fact that not only our protagonists were seeing ghosts, but that other people throughout the story confessed to having seen dead relatives as well. A more thorough description of the house the Buchanans live in, would have been great as well, or if the ghost was somehow connected to the house as well.

Nevertheless, as I already mentioned, the first part of the novel was a whole new level of scary for me, and if the second part was a tad bit dissapointing, then so be it. I enjoyed reading Spirit, and I would definately read another novel by Graham Masterton in a heartbeat. Some parts of this book were actually beyond brilliant, and left me very impressed, and a tremendously happy reader. If you can get past some of the minor flaws, you will realise, just as I have, that this novel is a masterpiece of horror literature, a true symphony for all things horrifying and supernatural, and a statement on its own: that not all things dead, stay dead, and that ghosts might very well exist. Magnificent.

Book Review: Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

6609744Title: Kat, Incorrigible
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Witches, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 304
Publication Date: April 5th 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Goodreads

Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society–if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother.
She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings–saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles–find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!

The thing that lured me into reading this novel was the cover. Don’t you just love it? It has this cartoony, childlike feel to it that reminded me a bit of The Sword in The Stone, the Disney movie about King Arthur and Merlin (especially the scene where Merlin made the tea cups and dishes float in the air, and then made them bounce and dance) and instantly made me want to read this book. I’m glad I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed Kat, Incorrigible.

Kat is a twelve-year old girl with a nice sense of humor but an unfortunate habit of always getting into trouble. With her two older sisters breathing down her neck, and her stepmother always poking her nose where it doesn’t belong, Kat often finds herself being lectured by either her siblings, or the aforementioned stepmother. Things aren’t looking up for Kat’s family, especially not since her oldest sister, Elissa, is to be married to a horrible man who supposedly killed his first wife. On top of that, her other sister Angelina, is messing with magic she doesn’t understand by practicing spells from her mother’s old spell books. Like that isn’t bad enough, Kat herself gets dragged down into a magic world during a nightly excursion, and barely escapes. But she does find some useful information: she is a Guardian, a talented magician. Now she must use her new-found powers to help her sisters, which leads to a lot of dreadful but hilarious situations.

I can’t remember the last time I had so much FUN reading a book. Kat, Incorrigible really is a hilarious book, but it also has a lot of action, adventures and interesting characters. While aimed at middle graders, I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and the storyline in this novel as well, and I’m pretty sure it will appeal to young adults and adults as well. Although the storyline is pretty balanced, with “the good guys” and “the bad guys” and it might be a bit predictable here and there, this is still one of the best MG fantasy books I’ve ever come across.

Although Kat herself encounters no love interests whatsoever in this book (which is a big yay for me, considering she’s only twelve, and not every heroine has to find herself a proper suitor), there was plenty of romance between Kat’s older sisters and their love interests. Kat was pretty much spending half her time playing matchmaker, and the other half trying to save both of her sisters from a horrible future. I liked these themes, and the cute and giggly undertone of the novel as Kat hopped from matchmaker duties to Guardian duties and sisterly affairs.

I also liked the fact that this book isn’t set entirely in some mystical made-up world, but actually is situated in our very own Regency England. Although there might be some time inconsistencies, and the way the characters talked wasn’t really what one would expect from proper ladies in Regency England, this didn’t bother me at all, especially not considering the fact it is a MG book, and that not everything has to be spot-on or historically correct to make a novel entertaining and amusing.

It surprised me a lot to see that practically all the characters in this book, even Charles, Kat’s always-absent but often-mentioned brother, have interesting and distinct personalities. I loved how Kat’s older sister, Elissa, seems like she just stepped out of a Jane Austen novel. A lot of the characters seemed like mismatched, or cynically-addressed Regency novels archetypes, and I had all the more fun reading about the madly in love student, or the mischevious highwayman who acted out of love. Of course, Kat was my favorite character. Wicked, clever, funny and witty, headstrong, stubborn and undeniably intelligent, she is a heroine I would like to see more of. She totally charmed me over, and if I had a kid sister anything like Kat, I would be terribly proud – and probably, terribly annoyed as well! She is exactly the kind of character ever reader has to root for, whether they want to, or not.

Stephanie Burgis’ writing style was very impressive, especially considering this is her debut novel. She describes places and scenes beautifully, but doesn’t spend too much time on the details, so there’s enough action to keep you turning page after page after page. The plot is full of twists, unexpected happenings and some more predictable occurences. It would be nearly impossible to get bored while reading this novel, because the storyline is so fast-paced, original and hilarious.

Picture a lighthearted, cheery and hilarious fantasy novel set in Regency England. Add sinister villains, doublecrossing magicians, love-struck older sisters, a stepmother deadset on climbing the society ladder and a total improper 12 year old girl with impressive magical powers, and you’ll get a nice idea of what Kat, Incorrigible is all about. Please come back soon, Kat, and entertain me some more with your hilarious adventures and your heartwarming and utterly charming attitude.

Author Interview: Michael Lee

The Book

10775739Title: My Frankenstein
Author: Michael Lee
Genre: Retelling Classics, Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction, Dark Romance
Read my review for My Frankenstein.

In a small village in early 19th Century young Eva is enthralled by the new young baron, Viktor Frankenstein. Viktor promises to transform the traditional little town into a beacon of science and gives the book loving Eva access to his fantastic library. Eva becomes his student and assists him in a secret experiment, though she is kept in the dark about its ultimate aim. Soon after that Viktor introduces Eva to his “cousin” Adam. Adam is horribly disfigured with stitches running across his face. Viktor claims he is mute and simpleminded, but Eva takes pity on him and sets out to teach him to speak.…

What follows is a combination of tragic romance and classic horror as Eva is pulled between Viktor, who grows jealous and takes murderous steps to ensure his secret, and Adam, who possess tremendous strength and rage yet deep inside is innocent and vulnerable.

In his debut fantasy novel, Michael J. Lee retells the classic story by Mary Shelley as a dark romance with steampunk overtones.

Author Interview

1) As the title suggests, My Frankenstein is a retelling of the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. What inspired you to write about Frankenstein?

Frankenstein is one of those stories that makes up part of my “writer’s DNA.” It’s a tale I grew up with. I was going to write about it sooner or later because I loved the story so much. And it’s a wonderful story that can find new applicability with the times. I felt the time had come to revisit the story with fresh eyes.

2) I liked the character of Eva. With her intelligence, fast learning skills and rather naive (at least at first) attitude, she seems a perfect fit for Viktor. Whereas the original “Frankenstein” novel barely even mentioned love or other emotions, why did you choose to bring a romantic twist to the story?

That’s what really made the story come alive, the emotions and deep feelings the characters have. What really kicked this story into high gear for me was remembering something an actor once told me, “You can’t hate someone you don’t give a damn about.” That element of love that Eva brings to the story is the real spark that brings the novel to life.

3) I have to admit that Viktor, despite his many flaws, was my favorite character. There is something darkly romantic and tragic about a scientist too advanced for his era. Who was your favorite character to write?

Viktor. Writing a hero can be fun but creating a dark character like Viktor and making him work, for me that is the heart of writing. In his own mind, he’s a hero not a villain. He has a reason for everything he does. That makes him an active character. He’s very much alive. And he just creates tension and drama. He doesn’t even have to do or say anything. Just having him enter the room makes the drama up a notch. A character like that is a joy to write.

4) Are you currently working on a new novel? If so, can you tell us something about it?

Yes I am. It’s called From Russia With Blood. This is also a tale close to my heart. Frankenstein is part of writer’s DNA, so is Dracula and so is James Bond. And I think the two genres are really tailor made for each other. The first drafts are done. I’m just working on fine tuning and editing the story.

Thanks for answering my interview questions!

Thanks for having me!

The Author

Michael Lee is a script consultant, judge and entertainment blogger for The Wrap.com and has lived in Detroit, Connecticut, Ohio and Los Angeles.
Visit his website.

Book Review: My Frankenstein by Michael Lee

10775739Title: My Frankenstein
Author: Michael Lee
Genre: Retelling Classics, Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction, Dark Romance
Pages: 408
Rating: 4,5 stars
Goodreads
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.

In a small village in early 19th Century young Eva is enthralled by the new young baron, Viktor Frankenstein. Viktor promises to transform the traditional little town into a beacon of science and gives the book loving Eva access to his fantastic library. Eva becomes his student and assists him in a secret experiment, though she is kept in the dark about its ultimate aim. Soon after that Viktor introduces Eva to his “cousin” Adam. Adam is horribly disfigured with stitches running across his face. Viktor claims he is mute and simpleminded, but Eva takes pity on him and sets out to teach him to speak.…

What follows is a combination of tragic romance and classic horror as Eva is pulled between Viktor, who grows jealous and takes murderous steps to ensure his secret, and Adam, who possess tremendous strength and rage yet deep inside is innocent and vulnerable.

In his debut fantasy novel, Michael J. Lee retells the classic story by Mary Shelley as a dark romance with steampunk overtones.

In a small village in 19th century England, a young and quite naive girl named Eva has an undeniable passion for science and progress, and she even managed to make a lightning rod. While she is trying to attach the latter to the roof of the inn she’s living in, she nearly falls down, because the scene that’s unfolding in front of her – her best friend kissing the boy she has loved all her life – makes her so upset that she loses her balance. Luckily, two strange men enquire about her well-being before entering the inn. Although she finds the first man to be quite attractive, and he seems like a true gentleman, it takes a while before Eva figures out that this man is Viktor, the new baron of their village.

Much like Eva herself, Viktor is a scientist. Amazed by the girl’s intelligence, he agrees to teach her the sciences, from electricity and mathematics to biology and chemistry, along with the help of his friend, a Russian called Igor. Viktor is a man of progression, and he is determined to bring their village into a new era. What Eva doesn’t know yet, is that her love for Viktor might be dangerous, not only for her, but for her friends and the entire village as well.

Then, one day, Viktor does the unthinkable. He introduces Eva to his cousin Adam, who got horribly deformed in an accident. Whereas Eva is capable of looking past the horrific appearance of Adam, and even manages to teach him something, Viktor could not care less about the young and horribly looking man. But Eva feels like something is up, and Viktor isn’t telling her the whole truth. To protect not only herself, but Adam as well, she is determined to find out what the truth is.

I loved Eva as a character. She is intelligent, but hardly realises she is. She is charming, intuitive and caring, but no one seems to recognise these qualities in her, aside from Viktor then. Viktor is a progressive scientist, too advanced for his era, too innovative, modern and evolved for his century. He is the tragic scientist, the misunderstood genius, the evil mastermind who does evil in the name of progress and evolution. I was secretly hoping that, even when she discovered some of his more evil personality traits, Eva would still be able to love him. To see whether or not she did, you will have to read the book though. I can only say that I still did, that he and Eva are one of the most fitting, tragically romantic couples I’ve come across in literature, and that they really touched my heart. They are both very interesting, relatable and well-described characters. I can understand that not everyone will like Viktor’s personality, but I believe he truly intended to do good, but did everything wrong, and thus was more of a tragic hero than of an evil villain.

I loved the fact that the author takes the original Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley, and adds this darkly romantic twist to it. The idea is both original and interesting, and when pulled off successfully – as Michael Lee absolutely did in this novel – it can change your view on the original Frankenstein story forever. Now I can no longer imagine Frankenstein without thinking about Viktor and Eva and their mutual bond.

I also loved the fact that Viktor Frankenstein isn’t just interested in creating a human being out of corpses and bringing it to life. He brings progression and modernization to Eva’s village, from a coal mine to a hospital, and practically brings the 19th century, filled with scientific research, machinery and evolution, to this village that still seems to be stuck in the dark Middle Ages. I also enjoyed reading about the villager’s reaction to all that, about their rebellion against progress, about their battle for the old and familiar against the new and unknown.

My Frankenstein reads very easily. It’s a fast-paced novel, with a decent story behind it, excellent characterization and it also explores several interesting topics. Michael Lee’s writing style is very fluent, and the story is gripping from the beginning to the end. I would advise My Frankenstein to anyone who enjoys a good classic retold, or to anyone who liked reading the original Frankenstein story.

In My Mailbox (8) / Mailbox Monday (15)

mailbox

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here). This month it is hosted by I’m Booking It.

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

In My Mailbox

Title: Ravenwild
Author: Peter J. Plasse and Michael Longenecker
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Review copy provided by the editor.

Returning home from another grueling shift of E.R. work, Dr. Blake Lee Strong comes across a downed motorcyclist and stops to help, but little does he know that his world and that of his family will soon be turned upside down. Duped into being transported to another planet called Inam’Ra, Dr. Strong and his family are thrust into a medieval world populated by Trolls, Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves, Humans and other alien beings. An epic odyssey begins as the Strong family fights for not only their own survival, but also for the continued existence of the citizens of Ravenwild.

Title: Shaman, Healer, Heretic (An Olivia Lawson, Techno-Shaman Novel)
Author: M. Terry Green
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Review copy provided by the author.

Even for a techno-shaman, a kachina in the bedroom isn’t exactly part of the drill. When Olivia Lawson wakes to find one towering over her, she panics. A Hopi god visiting the real world isn’t just wrong–it’s impossible.
Or is it?
Soon Olivia learns that the kachina is the least of her worries. As she struggles to save her clients, clashes with other shamans, and fends off the attacks of real-world vigilantes, Olivia finds herself in the destructive path of a malevolent ancient force intent on leaving the spiritual realm to conquer this one.
Left with few options, Olivia is forced to defy centuries of shaman prohibitions. As she and her allies risk everything in their bid for survival, Olivia ultimately learns that the rules are there for a reason and that breaking them has a terrible cost.

Title: Quest of the Demon
Author: M.L. Sawyer
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Review copy provided by the author.

Darci is a popular sixteen-year-old girl who plays basketball and lives in an ordinary country town. But her life is changed forever when she is accidentally transported to the land of Nahaba by a young apprentice wizard called Taslessian.
Within hours of her unexpected arrival, both teens are thrust into a dangerous journey to the cave of Grisham the Great in the hope that he would be able to send her home.
Upon reaching the cave, however, Darci quickly discovers that there is no such thing as accidents, and that their journey is only just beginning.
The Quest of the Demon has begun.

Title: Stay
Author: C.C. Jackson
Genre: Faeries, Fantasy, Romance
Review copy provided by the author.

Callie is shocked when she is ripped from her home in the middle of the night. She is taken to a city that she never knew existed only to find that she has a strange connection to her sexy captor. To top it all off, he tries to convince her that she is not even human. She learns that she is actually a fairy. Not just any fairy, but a fairy who has been destined to become queen of the fairies. The only problem is that the current queen is a cruel tyrant and Callie will have to fight for the title that she was meant for. She is not completely convinced that this is a life that she wants to live. She would love nothing more than to go back to being the normal human girl that she always thought that she was.
When tragedy strikes, Callie finds that she no longer knows who she can trust. She must learn to survive on her own in a harsh underground world.
She finds herself dealing with the struggles of life and love for the first time. Two gorgeous guys, a bunch of new friends, and a whole new world. Will it be more than she can bear?

Title: Endlessly
Author: C.V. Hunt
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Review copy provided by the author.

When Ashley walks into a shop run by the vampire, Verloren, they both get the surprise of their lives. Ash is about to learn that she’s not just another pretty young woman, while Verloren is astonished to find himself falling in love. But how can a vampire love a human? And what if the human isn’t as human as she seems? When Ash’s true nature reveals itself, the entire power structure of the world’s outsiders teeters on the brink of destruction. Verloren and Ash become more and more terrified as they grope their way toward the ultimate truth: that they hold the key to something much larger than their own survival.

Title: Family Ties (Corporeal Daughters #1)
Author: Jazmyn Douillard
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Adventure, Adult
Review copy provided by the author.

Kat wakes up from a nightmare she’s had many times before to find a dead laptop with no memory of her thesis for her final grades.
If only she knew that possibly failing out of college was going to be the least of her worries for the day. If it isn’t humans pushing her in front of cars, it’s an ancient race of beings who are thirsty for her link to a woman who’s been dead for over two hundred years.
Can Kat survive the day on her own, or is she going to have to accept help from an unusual man who seems to pop in and out of her life with conspicuous timing?
And if she doesn’t survive, will she stay dead?
A full length supernatural adventure novel that will take you around the world!

Title: The Scavenger’s Daughter
Author: Mike McIntyre
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Review copy provided by the author.

A Southern California self-storage unit filled with medieval instruments of torture…
A modern-day Torquemada hell-bent on updating the Spanish Inquisition…
An investigative reporter racing to connect the lurid dots…
Deadline has a whole new meaning.
Tyler West, suspended Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the San Diego Sun, is desperate for a scoop that will save his career. Defying a spiteful publisher and a vindictive homicide detective, he investigates the baffling deaths of several of San Diego’s powerful, rich and famous. Police call the murders unrelated, but Ty uncovers a common link: torture devices last used during the Dark Ages, including the Iron Maiden, the Pear of Anguish, and the most sinister of all—the Scavenger’s Daughter. Ty is plunged into a mysterious world of medieval torture scholars, antiquities collectors, museum curators, and sadomasochists.
Aided by photojournalist Melina “Mel” Koric, a former Bosnian War refugee, Ty must break the brilliantly conceived series of slayings that has cast a dark shadow over a city better known for its sun, sand and surf. The elusive killer goes by the name Friar Tom, in tribute to his hero, Tomás de Torquemada, the first Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.
As Ty scrambles to unmask the monstrous zealot, he must juggle his investigation with his personal life: He pursues his lost love, Jordan Sinclair, an assistant district attorney, and continues to mentor inner-city kids at his youth golf clinics. With the city caught in an escalating nightmare of medieval mayhem, Ty is drawn into a lethal game of cat and mouse that could cost him everything. Lightning-paced, intricately plotted and wildly suspenseful, The Scavenger’s Daughter grabs the reader early and doesn’t let go until its heart-pounding climax.

Title: The Kingdoms of Evil (The Covenant Nonsense)
Author: Daniel Bensen
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Review copy provided by the author.

The Kingdoms of Evil cast a shadow of death and horror over half a continent and Freetrick Feend is next in line to be their king.
A college student in a comfortable and civilized nation not so different from yours, Freetrick suddenly finds himself kidnapped by monsters, engaged to a dominatrix, and put in charge of a country where Maniacal Laughter is a performance art and Assassination a competitive sport, with extra points awarded for creative cruelty.
As the new focus of all evil in the world, Freetrick must survive court intrigues, well-justified foreign invasion, internal rebellions, and a looming environmental catastrophe that might just kill everyone anyway. Because in a land of constant shadow, what do the monsters eat?
Aside from each other.

The Kingdoms of Evil is an epic fantasy humor novel for those of us who root for the bad guy.

Series Review: The Iron Fey Series

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The Iron Fey Series is a young adult fantasy series focusing on faeries, the realm of the Nevernever, and the adventures and trials of half-human, half-Summer Princess Meghan Chase. The series is written by Julie Kagawa and published by HarlequinTEEN.

Along with her best friend Puck, who is actually none other than the mythical Robin Goodfellow, whimsical and wicked faery mentioned in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the dark and icy Winter Prince Ash, Meghan must retreive her younger brother from the NeverNever in the first book in the series, The Iron King. What she doesn’t know, is that her brother’s kidnapper is none other than the Iron King, leader of the Iron Fey. Considering that all normal faeries are allergic to iron, and being submitted for a long time to said material weakens them a lot, and Meghan’s half-human side protects her from that disease, she is the only person who can travel to the Iron Fey Kingdom and save her brother.

In The Iron Daughter, Meghan is submitted to the whims and wishes of Mab, the Queen of Winter, at the Unseelie Court. Things get worse when Ash, the Winter Prince she fell in love with, is treating her indifferently or cruel. But the war with the Iron fey isn’t over yet. When Rowan, Crown Prince of Winter, gets murdered, the Scepter of Seasons is stolen and Ash betrays his own kingdom, it’s up to the Winter Prince and Meghan to retreive the Scepter, and hopefully prevent a war between Summer and Winter, as both kingdoms blame each other for its dissapearance. As they travel to the home of Leanansidhe, a very powerful faery, they get accompanied by old friends Puck and the cait sith Grimalkin. But now they still have to get the Scepter back from the Iron King’s former second in command, Virus.

Although they have convinced Summer and Winter to stop battling each other, that doesn’t stop the army of the Iron fey to come marching into the Nevernever in The Iron Queen. The fate of Tir Na Nog now rests on the shoulders of our heroes; and especially Meghan. She might be the only one capable of stopping the new Iron King, but at what cost? As love grows, friendships are shattered and renewed, and Grimalkin keeps on being his own sarcastic and humorous self, our heroes are crafting their own destiny.

Title: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)
Review: Read my review for The Iron King
Rating: 5 stars

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Review Excerpt: From the moment Puck and Meghan step into the Never Never, I was hooked. The first hundred pages may not have totally convinced me, but the story afterwards did. I loved the way Julie Kagawa described both kingdoms, how she potrayed Lord Oberon and Queen Titania, how she made the throne room come to life on those very pages of this book. I was amazed, enthralled, paralyzed and of course, forced to continue reading. Then, as Meghan’s adventures begin, and she’s being chased by all sorts of magical creatures as she tries to find her brother, I was thoroughly amused. It felt sort of like those classic quest storylines, but with new and original ideas woven into it. Read more?

Title: Winter’s Passage (Iron Fey #1.5)
Review: Read my review for Winter’s Passage
Rating: 3 stars

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat….

An eBook exclusive story from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.

Review Excerpt: I did enjoy reading Winter’s Passage, although I thought it was a bit short (probably got something to do with the fact it’s an ebook novella :P) and I probably finished reading it in fifteen or so minutes. It was fun to travel back to the briefly familiar territory covered in The Iron King, to catch up with Meghan and Ash, and to take another look on dear old Puck. The adventure with The Hunter chasing Ash and Meghan was entertaining as well, although I must admit I’ve grown a bit tired with the loop those two seem to be stuck in. Either it’s chasing something or someone – from a missing brother to a scepter to each other – or being chased by something rather dangerous. With The Iron Fey novels, I constantly have the feeling that I’m running along with the characters, and there’s never time to sit back and relax, or to talk about funny things like feelings, emotions and heartbreak. It’s a bit exhausting to read really. Read more?

Title: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2)
Review: Read my review for The Iron Daughter.
Rating: 4 stars

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Review excerpt: Thank god and all the saints in heaven, that Grimalkin is back. Always ready to make a sly remark, or to humor us with his witty sarcasm towards feeble humans and love-struck faerieis. Without Grimalkin, The Iron Fey series would definately be a lot less interesting. If Grimalkin was a human, Puck and Ash wouldn’t stand a chance, and I’d be Team Grimalkin all the way. Too bad cats cannot miraculously change into human shape, or aren’t disguises for ordinary, but very powerful faeries. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to find a very nice-looking, equally charming female cat to accompany our beloved Grimalkin. I can only hope that he makes an appearance in The Iron Queen as well. Read more?

Title: The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3)
Review: Read my review for The Iron Queen.
Rating: 5 stars

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Review Excerpt: As of now, I’m officially not Team Ash or Team Puck anymore. I’m Team Meghan ftw! The way that girl has grown from a regular, somewhat shy and insecure teenage girl into the single most courageous, determined, intelligent and honest creature walking the Nevernever, is simply amazing. Gone is the love-struck half-faery we see at the beginning of The Iron Daughter, long forgotten is the girl who had no money to buy decent clothes and was the laughing stock of high school. Meet Meghan Chase – daughter of King Oberon, Princess to the Nevernever, and the most dangerous opponent the Iron Fey could possibly face. She is willful, strong, independent, but without ever losing her charming personality, and all the reasons why she’s still human and only a teenage girl. She literally and figuratively kicks ass in this novel, and it was a pleasure to witness. Read more?

Book Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

8685612Title: The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Fantasy, Faeries, Young Adult, Iron Fey
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Rating: 5 stars
Review copy purchased through Book Depository.

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Read my reviews for The Iron King, Winter’s Passage and The Iron Daughter.

At the beginning of The Iron Queen, we find Meghan and the love of her life, Prince Ash, both exiled from the Nevernever for following their hearts and falling in love with each other. Unfortunately for Meghan and Ash, their trials are not yet over, as the Iron Fey attack them even while on earth. Oberon and Mab – King of Summer and Queen of Winter, former enemies, and now forced allies, see no other choice but to pardon their wayward children and to request for them to save the Nevernever one more time. When Ash and Meghan agree, they do not realise that the perils that await them in the land of the Iron fey will be even greater than they have anticipated, and the disaster they will encounter will be something even they might not overcome. With the army of the Iron fey marching towards the territories of Summer and Winter, and the fate of the entire Nevernever on the line, Meghan must find a strength within herself she hardly knew she had.

As of now, I’m officially not Team Ash or Team Puck anymore. I’m Team Meghan ftw! The way that girl has grown from a regular, somewhat shy and insecure teenage girl into the single most courageous, determined, intelligent and honest creature walking the Nevernever, is simply amazing. Gone is the love-struck half-faery we see at the beginning of The Iron Daughter, long forgotten is the girl who had no money to buy decent clothes and was the laughing stock of high school. Meet Meghan Chase – daughter of King Oberon, Princess to the Nevernever, and the most dangerous opponent the Iron Fey could possibly face. She is willful, strong, independent, but without ever losing her charming personality, and all the reasons why she’s still human and only a teenage girl. She literally and figuratively kicks ass in this novel, and it was a pleasure to witness.

But Ash, my poor little Ash, what the heck happened to you? You just went from being one of the most interesting, charming, distant and icey Princes of the Faerie Realm and then you turned into a…love-struck teenager? I don’t know exactly why – I mean, I do support Meghan/Ash – but the latter just can’t play the role of Meghan’s boyfriend and still be an interesting character with a dark edge. Gone, dark edge. And that leaves him rather one-dimensional, flat, and not all that interesting. With the dissapearance of the love triangle, and Meghan’s firm choice for Ash, there was a huge romance plot missing in this novel. Ash and Meghan were interesting…until they started dating. Now I’m wondering whether or not they’ll watch a movie together sometime, snuggling in front of a TV screen and perhaps worrying about daily chores or homework. WRONG. That’s not what I want to think about when I imagine a Summer Princess and a Winter Prince! And yet, somehow I did…it’s like Meghan/Ash lost all their magic once they actually got together.

Once again, Julie Kagawa’s world-building is exquisite, her characterization brilliant, her writing style excellent. The Iron Queen pulled me in from page one, and left me breathless till I turned the last page and read the ending. Spellbinding, fascinating, amazing, and the best ending to one of the most magnificent, original and well-written young adult fantasy series currently available. Here I was, thinking it couldn’t get any better, and then it did.

Book Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

7747064Title: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Faeries, Young Adult
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Review copy purchased in through BookDepository.
Rating: 4 stars

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

The Iron Daughter continues the story where The Iron King left off (or Winter’s Passage if you will), with Meghan being forced to go to the Unseelie Court of the Winter Queen Mab, and possibly suffer horrendeous torture at the hands of her father’s enemy. However, Meghan soon finds out that the vengeance of Queen Mab is the least of her worries, as one of the Unseelie Princes betrays his own kingdom, kills the heir to the Winter Throne, and reveals to be working for the Iron King. On top of all that, it appears that the Iron fey have got their hands on the Scepter of Seasons. Naturally, Mab believes Oberon has stolen the scepter, and decides to full-on attack him rather than believe her youngest son’s theory about the existence of Iron fey. Now Summer and Winter are at war, and it’s up to Ash and Meghan – again – to retreive the Scepter from the Iron fey, to settle the peace between the two Courts and to prevent an upcoming attack from the Iron fey.

The Iron Daughter is a solid, fast-paced adventure which, once again, showcases Julie Kagawa’s phenomenal world-building skills and her ability to make likeable, funny characters with distinct qualities and interesting personalities. I have to say that, after reading The Iron Daughter, I am even more impressed by Julie’s world-building skills. She crafts the Nevernever out of basically nothing (although slightly based on century-old stories about the faerie world like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or based on well-known faerie lore) and she does so in a most amazing fashion. The world she creates is interesting, innovative, vast and at all times surprising. From the gorgeous palace of Summer Court to the icy fields of Winter and the iron dominating the Iron Kingdom, her world is ever-changing and evolving, growing if you may, much like a real world. As as the world she describes expands and grows, so do her characters.

Whereas in The Iron King I thought Puck was often portrayed as being a one-dimensional character with an uncomprehendable interest in Meghan’s welfare (he loves her…but why?), the habit of causing trouble to the point of his occassional duels with Icey Boy, we now see a whole new side of him. We discover why Puck loves Meghan, and how far he is willing to go to prove that point, and to protect her. He grows from a rather one-dimensional character to a three-dimensional person with his own fair share of fears, emotions and hopes. There’s a scene with Puck and Meghan in this book, that nearly made me jump over from Team Ash to Team Puck. I think it’s safe to say though that Julie Kagawa prefers Ash, since he gets more pages, and a lot more love through-out the series than Puck ever does. However, although I do root for Ash and Meghan to be the ‘endgame’ couple, as you may call it, I would like to see Puck and Meghan happen sometime, and I would like Puck to have a fair chance. It’s about time that Meghan seems him for who he really is – he is, after all, the one who betrayed his Kingdom for her, whereas Ash is still obeying Mab’s orders like a sad little puppy in the beginning of this novel.

Thank god and all the saints in heaven, that Grimalkin is back. Always ready to make a sly remark, or to humor us with his witty sarcasm towards feeble humans and love-struck faerieis. Without Grimalkin, The Iron Fey series would definately be a lot less interesting. If Grimalkin was a human, Puck and Ash wouldn’t stand a chance, and I’d be Team Grimalkin all the way. Too bad cats cannot miraculously change into human shape, or aren’t disguises for ordinary, but very powerful faeries. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to find a very nice-looking, equally charming female cat to accompany our beloved Grimalkin. I can only hope that he makes an appearance in The Iron Queen as well.

Prince Ash was trying so hard to be as icey and cold as always through-out the first part of this novel, and failed miserably every time. As I already stated in my review of The Iron King, I would have liked it if the relationship between Meghan and Ash had not blossomed so soon, and if they had gotten a bit more time to get to trust each other first. Kisses, embraces and other snuggling could have waited till this novel, in my opinion – and to be honest, for a Winter Prince, Ash really isn’t all that icey, hard-to-get or distant. I thought the visit to the Winter Prom at Meghan’s old school was particularly hilarious, especially with all the human girls swooning over Ash, and Meghan’s old crush inviting her to a party – for the first time in her life! However, I thought it was quite ridiculous as well. Really? Prince Ash needs a lot of glamour and suddenly everyone thinks about the Winter Prom? Why not just go to a club, or something? And why those ridiculous costumes? When the book mentioned that Ash was dressed in white – yes, white, oh the horror – with a coloured tie (I forgot the color, but it seemed insanely ugly at the moment) I thought I was either quite disturbed to imagine such things, or I had been transported to a very horrible alternate reality. Unfortunately for me, neither of these assumptions were true and indeed, Julie Kagawa, makes Ash look like the mere representation of everything a Winter Prince is NOT supposed to be. Thank god my imagination skills were powerful enough to imagine Ash in something else – a black suit, for instance.

I disliked Meghan in this novel. I liked her throughout Iron King, I liked her progress, how she gradually changed from an insecure and scared teenage girl into a real Summer Princess, filled with enough courage and determination to withstand even the Iron King. However, she seemed to have temporarily lost all her wit, charm, intelligence and courage in the first hundred-or-so pages of this book. Rather than worrying about her own well-being, or about finding a way out of the Winter Court – or anything to escape, for that matter – she is constantly weeping over the fact that Ash is treating her badly. What do you want the guy to do? Admit to the entire Court that he’s in love with a half Summer Princess, half human, most probably making both himself and Meghan the subject of Mab’s wrath by doing so? Although it sounds ridiculous, that appears to be exactly what Meghan wants. She’s even surprised when he calls her the ‘half blood’ or ‘human’ or says he doesn’t want anything to do with her, although he warned her time and time again in the Iron King and Winter’s Passage that he would have no choice but to treat her this way. Really Meghan, are you dense? Or have you watched too much Twilight, and decided to take on the role of Bella Swan for a change?

Luckily for us, Meghan loses her Bella Swan attitude gradually throughout the second part of the novel. The suspense rises as the trio (yes, of course Puck is back) and charming Grimalkin go on another journey to retreive the Scepter of Seasons. From that point on, the pace picks up, the chase is back on, and Meghan slowly becomes an interesting, relatable and intelligent heroine again. As she did in her previous novel, Julie Kagawa once again ends in style, leaving her readers to anxiously anticipate her next novel in the series. The Iron Daughter is a worthy successor to The Iron King, although I must admit I liked the latter more.

Book Review: Winter’s Passage by Julie Kagawa

8070049Title: Winter’s Passage (Iron Fey #1.5)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries, Fantasy
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Rating: 3 stars
Review copy downloaded for free from the Harlequin website.
Goodreads

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat….

An eBook exclusive story from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.

Read my review of The Iron King, the previous book in the series.

Winter’s Passage picks up exactly where The Iron King left off, with the handsome and darkly charming Prince Ash escorting the Half-Summer Princess Meghan Chase through the realm of the Nevernever and into the lair of Queen Mab, the Unseelie Court. However, before they begin their journey back to the freakingly cold winter-world, Meghan forces Prince Ash to do one last thing, namely pay a visit to her best friend, Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) who got seriously injured during their previous fight with the Iron Fey. Although a detour wasn’t exactly what the chilly prince had planned, he does give his consent. That was before he knew the thing that was chasing them though, The Hunter, a century-old creature so powerful even Ash might be unable to defeat it. And amidst of all this running away from scary creatures, sword-wielding heroes and practically immortal foes, Meghan and Ash still have to admit they have feelings for each other.

I did enjoy reading Winter’s Passage, although I thought it was a bit short (probably got something to do with the fact it’s an ebook novella :P) and I probably finished reading it in fifteen or so minutes. It was fun to travel back to the briefly familiar territory covered in The Iron King, to catch up with Meghan and Ash, and to take another look on dear old Puck. The adventure with The Hunter chasing Ash and Meghan was entertaining as well, although I must admit I’ve grown a bit tired with the loop those two seem to be stuck in. Either it’s chasing something or someone – from a missing brother to a scepter to each other – or being chased by something rather dangerous. With The Iron Fey novels, I constantly have the feeling that I’m running along with the characters, and there’s never time to sit back and relax, or to talk about funny things like feelings, emotions and heartbreak. It’s a bit exhausting to read really.

I liked it that Winter’s Passage does stop on emotions for once, and gives us a greater insight in what the characters are thinking. Ash because an even more complex and multifaceted characters as he is faced with the conflicting desires of love and loyalty. We also see a greater glimpse of Meghan’s feelings, and learn that this might not simply be a teenage crush on a handsome faery prince. I’ve always liked the dynamics of Meghan/Ash (although I have to admit I’m not entirely opposed against Puck as well) and I’m glad the veil got lifted, albeit only a little bit, and I got a better understanding of both of these characters.

Don’t read Winter’s Passage unless you read The Iron King, or if you feel like taking a glimpse of Julie Kagawa’s writing style first before focusing on the trilogy itself. Personally, I don’t think it’s Julie’s best writing – she has a lot more skill producing a novel than a novella, in my opinion – but it’s a nice bridge between The Iron King and The Iron Daughter, it’s a very fast read, and you’ll see some more of the characters you’ve grown to love. Plus, you know, there’s Ash, and he’s always a bonus.